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South Korea, US to hold largest live-fire drills

South Korea and the US are set to conduct their biggest live-fire military defence drills yet after North Korea ramped up its missile testing program.

March 23, 2023
By Hyonhee Shin
23 March 2023

South Korean and US forces will hold their largest ever live-fire exercises in June in a show of force to North Korea, which has ratcheted up tension with numerous missile launches.

The exercises are part of a series of events marking the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the two countries this year, South Korea’s defence ministry said.

“We’ve planned various anniversary programmes focusing on realising ‘peace through strength’ through action based on our strategic deterrence capabilities and the solid combined defence posture amid North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“During the live-fire exercises, the combined forces will demonstrate the alliance’s formidable firepower and mobility on an unprecedented scale.”

South Korea plans to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of its military in September with a display by the allies’ forces of their “overwhelming deterrence and response capabilities” against the North, which will include South Korea’s missile defence system, the ministry said.

In recent weeks, North Korea has been ramping up its military tests, firing an intercontinental ballistic missile last week and conducting a nuclear counterattack simulation against the US and South Korea over the weekend.

The United States has about 28,500 troops in South Korea.

US and South Korean forces have been carrying out various types of military training in recent weeks including air and sea drills involving American B-1B bombers, and their first large-scale amphibious landing exercises in five years.

North Korea has reacted furiously to those drills, calling them a rehearsal for its invasion. 

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